Black Arts Weekend: Showcasing Culture and Talent

Students gathered in the Den to hear an eclectic mix of poetry and music at the Black Arts Showcase Friday night. Fey Feghali ’12 began the event by reciting a poem on the beauty of diversity. It was the perfect opening act for poems ahead. Eli Shapiro ’10 and Khalil Flemming ’12 followed. Flemming performed “Continued” at the Showcase and detailed the rejection he faced when trying to ask a girl to dance with him. This wasn’t the first time Flemming read his poetry in public. At the JusticeNow Coffee House few weeks ago, he had already earned a reputation, charming especially a group of Upper girls with an untitled poem about the girl who had won his admiration. Dominic Chang ’11 followed with 3 poems, one. And, as expected, Charlie Walters ’10 read a poem titled, “Charles Shoener Naked: An Introspective Look at Race Issues in Post-modern United States History.” The poem was an honest plea to the audience to overlook race. Walters said, “If [we] stop putting stress on diversity and current prejudices, the problem will start to phase itself out.” The audience was, as usual, impressed by Walters’ skills. Moshe Bryant ’12 said, “Charlie Walters is just Charlie Walters. He is good everytime.” SLAM mixed things up by performing a captivating routine to the song “Give it up to me” by Shakira. Hypnotic wowed the crowd with a performance to Black Violin’s “Dirty Orchestra,” which the acclaimed duo itself performed the following night. Anthony White ’10 shocked the audience with his secret singing talent, performing a duet with Mandisa Mjamba ’10. Maya Odei ‘12, one of the student coordinators of the show, said, “I had no idea Anthony White could sing! He should try out for the Yorkies!” “The Showcase was a great place for new talent to show what they’ve got,” she added. Odei and Sheya Jabouin ’11 organized the show with Karina Hernandez, Associate Director of College Counseling. Jasmine Stovall ’10 performed two poems, “Where I’m From” and “Hip Hop is Dead,” both of which she wrote for Louis Bernieri’s senior English elective. She said that she would not have recited them if Odei had not contacted her personally. After Mjamba and Hector Kilgoe ’11 recited “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks, Aniebet Ekpa ’11 read her absolutely electrifying poem, “Personal Preference.” Ekpa explained, “The poem was about how black girls [at PA] are tired and indignant because white guys or any non-Black guy doesn’t recognize their beauty, because it’s not the typical blonde hair, pointy nose kind of beauty.” Several times during the performance, the audience broke out into applause, jumping and cheering. When Ekpa descended from the stage, audience members called out her name and high-fived her. Despite the controversial content, most audience members enjoyed the poem. Kim Sarnoff’12 said, “I liked the balance between humor and seriousness regarding race relations in her poem.” Kiara Valdez ’12 exclaimed, “It was bangin.’ I felt it through my soul.”